Probability and Cost Estimates for Climate Change

by Sam Peterson

As the scientific consensus regarding the existence of climate change has grown, two separate, research communities have delineated differences in experimentation and modeling of climate change costs. The “integrated assessment community” has extensively examined the influence of “technological and socio-economic uncertainties on low-carbon scenarios,” while the modeling community has focused on understanding the “geophysical response of the Earth system to emissions of greenhouse gases.” Rogelj et. al. (2013) unite these two seemingly mutually exclusive endeavors by generating “distributions of the costs associated with limiting transient global temperature increase to below specific values, [and] taking into account uncertainties in four factors: geophysical, technological, social and political.” The study concludes that political choices that delay mitigation have the largest effect on the cost–risk distribution, closely followed by geophysical uncertainties. Continue reading